A Bradford police officer, who crashed his car while nearly three times over the drink-drive limit and then covered his tracks from colleagues, has been told he could go to prison.
PC Jatinder Dosanjh, 31, gave officers a false name and occupation after his arrest in a bid to hide his true identity, Leeds Magistrates Court heard yesterday.
Dosanjh pleaded not guilty to driving over the prescribed limit and failing to report an accident, but was found guilty of both charges by District Judge David Kitson after a two-day trial. He adjourned sentencing for a probation report.
The judge told the officer, who is understood to be based at Javelin House police station in Eccleshill, Bradford, he was keeping all sentencing options open, including custody, and added: “I am making no promises to you at all.”
The judge added: “The defendant has given evidence before me. I am sorry to say I found him a most unconvincing witness. I simply did not believe him.”
The court heard Dosanjh was driving home in his Volkswagen Polo, on the afternoon of December 5, after repairing his father’s fence when he was seen driving erratically by other roadusers. The car was drifting from left to right, failing to keep up with other vehicles, and the driver appeared to be looking down, as if texting on a mobile phone.
A driving instructor and his pupil, who had witnessed the earlier driving, came upon Dosanjh’s car in Woodhall Lane, Calverley. It had hit a wall and flipped onto its roof. They went to help and the defendant was pulled out of a window.
Dosanjh left the scene and went home, but police identified the driver and went to the defendant’s house. He was found in the garden, arrested and taken to the police station.
District Judge Kitson said Dosanjh gave an inaccurate name and occupation to police. His true occupation as a serving police officer was not revealed until 15 hours after his arrest.
He later claimed he had drunk two tumblers of whisky after getting home.
Mr Kitson said Dosanjh – who gave a reading at the police station of 95 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35 – had gone from saying he had consumed half a bottle of wine prior to driving, to drinking half a litre of whisky after.
He said the defendant’s barrister, Paul Fleming, had submitted that what his client had said and the manner in which he had behaved was consistent with a psychiatric report which said the defendant was suffering a severe reaction to the shock of the accident.
Mr Kitson said: “While I agree everything the defendant described, and has done, may be consistent with that diagnosis, in my judgment it is equally consistent with this defendant drinking and driving and then trying to cover his tracks.
“His whole explanation is littered with inconsistencies, his story has changed as each untruth has been exposed.”
The judge said sentencing guidelines suggested a community order. But he said aggravating factors took it beyond that to a range of a high level community order to 26 weeks custody, with a starting point of 12 weeks custody.